England is not known for its mountains. Indeed, much of the English landscape is made up of plains and low hills. Nevertheless, more northerly areas such as the Lake District and Peak District are home to some beautiful examples of high peaks and tall mountains.
If considering what counts as a mountain, or differentiates it from a hill, there is no official national classification. However, it’s generally accepted that, in England, a mountain is a peak of 2000 feet high or above.
This isn’t set in stone, but rather customarily derived from the pages of various renowned classification systems such as Hewitts and Nuttalls. Even here, there is disparity, with Hewitts requiring a drop of at least 98 feet all round, to Nuttall’s 50 feet. Therefore, Hewitts counts 180 mountains in England to Nuttall’s 257.
The list below however, consists solely of elevations that are unambiguously mountains. In fact, they are the top ten highest mountains in England.
Top Ten Highest Mountains in England
England is home to some of the most beautiful and majestic mountains in the world. From the rolling hills of the Lake District to the peaks of the Yorkshire Dales, there is no shortage of stunning scenery to be found in England.
And while mountains may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of England, they actually make up a large part of the country. In fact, England is home to more than 1,000 mountains, many of which are popular tourist destinations.
Here’s a run down of the ten highest mountains in England.
1. Scafell Pike
Location: Lake District National Park, Cumbria | Height: 3,209 feet
At 3,209 feet, Scafell Pike is the highest mountain in England, attracting some 250,000 climbers every year. It’s located in the Lake District National Park in Cumbria, and is a popular destination for hikers and climbers.
Reaching the top of Scafell Pike offers not just great views from the highest point in England, but a glimpse into its history via the Bronze Age cairns on the summit. The Romans also made their way to the top of Scafell Pike, and Roman coins and pottery shards have been found on the mountain. There are also several old pilgrim routes leading to the summit, dating from the Middle Ages. Donated to the National Trust in 1919, a plaque dedicates the mountain to the fallen men of the Lake District of World War I.
Location: Lake District National Park, Cumbria | Height: 3163 feet
It’s a quick hop from number one to number two tallest mountain in England, just across a narrow ridge called Mickledore to the mountain of Scafell. A mere 43 feet short of the top spot, this unusual peak has such different topography on each of its sides, one would hardly believe they were all part of the same mountain. Huge crags to the east, smooth slopes to the south and sheer drops to the north make this a fascinating sight.
Location: Lake District National Park, Cumbria | Height: 3,117 feet
Rising up to 3,118 feet is the third highest peak in England, Helvellyn. Pronounced hel·vel·lyn, this granite, slate and diorite mountain is a popular destination for both hikers and rock climbers with several trails that lead to the summit. The shortest is from Thirlmere and ranges from a 4.5 miles ‘up and down’ hike to a longer nine mile route.
Location: Lake District National Park, Cumbria | Height: 3,054 feet
Skiddaw is covered in green grass and heather, with rocky outcrops dotting the landscape. It has a distinctive shape, with four rounded ridges that radiate out from the central peak. The highest point on Skiddaw is its summit, which lies at an elevation of 3,054 feet and offers commanding views of the surrounding countryside, including the nearby peaks of Helvellyn and Scafell Pike. The name “Skiddaw” is said to come from the Old Norse for “timber- hill”.
5. Great Gable
Location: Lake District National Park, Cumbria | Height: 2,949 feet
The shape of Great Gable has been referred to as both ‘domed’ and ‘pyramid-like’, the latter apparently being the origin-source of its name. Whatever the most accurate description of this rugged mountain, it’s certainly distinctive. What’s more, whilst reaching this fifth highest point in England is rated as difficult by many guides, particularly due to its steep slopes, it does afford dramatic panoramic views.
6. Cross Fell
Location: North Pennines, Cumbria | Height: 2,930 feet
The first entry on the list outside the Lake District is Cross Fell. This is the tallest mountain in England’s Pennines and is located in its northern moors. With much of its makeup being hard, carboniferous limestone, Cross Fell has many steep slopes all leading to the plateau of its 2,930 foot-high stony peak. This, combined with treacherous weather conditions makes Cross Fell a challenging ascent.
Location: Lake District National Park, Cumbria | Height: 2,927 feet
It’s said that on a good day, the view at the peak of Pillar takes in the Isle of Man, Scotland and much of the Lakeland fells; a worthy reward for the challenging 7.5 mile hike up. Located in the western fells of the Lake District, it takes its name from the nearby Pillar Rock.
Location: Lake District National Park, Cumbria | Height: 2,864 feet
The highest of the Lake District’s eastern fells, Fairfield is also the eighth highest peak in England. The topography of Fairfield Peak is characterised by a series of steep, rolling hills, its terrain generally quite rocky. Renowned fells enthusiast, writer Alfred Wainwright described Fairfield as ‘a grand mountain’.
Location: Lake District National Park, Cumbria | Height: 2,848 feet
Looking at Blencathra from the east, it’s said to resemble a saddleback. Indeed many old ordnance survey maps referred to it as such. Set in the northern part of the Lake District overlooking the River Greta, Blencartha has not one, but six fell tops. The highest one, Hallsfell Top, earns it its ninth place in top ten highest mountains in England at 2,848 feet.
Location: Lake District National Park, Cumbria | Height: 2,795 feet
This 2,795 foot fell in the Lake District National Park is the highest point of the Coledale horseshoe, a group of hills that also includes Crag Hill and Ladock fell. Grasmoor is a popular destination for walkers and climbers, and offers stunning views of the Lake District and beyond. Its name derives from the Norse for wild boar.
List of the Tallest Mountains in England
And so ends our tour of the top ten highest mountains in England. In case you need a reminder, here they are again as a single list, from the highest mountain in England to the tenth:
- Scafell Pike – 3,209
- Scafell – 3163
- Helvellyn – 3,117
- Skiddaw – 3,054
- Great Gable – 2,949
- Cross Fell – 2,930
- Pillar – 2,927
- Fairfield – 2,864
- Blencathra – 2,848
- Grasmoor – 2,795